After our quick trip to Arizona to visit Tombstone, we returned yet again. This time to visit the Grand Canyon and see what the fuss was all about. This year was its centennial year as it became a National Park on the 26th February in 1919 and we had a short and sweet visit to see the millions of years of geological history.
From Las Vegas (A) we drove 450 kms (280 miles) to this incredible natural wonder. We lost an hour crossing from Nevada into Arizona so we stopped on the way for our pretty standard picnic lunch in Williams (B), which we discovered was the last town on Route 66 to be bypassed by Interstate 40 in 1984. We found a playground and soon discovered it had become pretty cold and windy outside. As we continued on, in towards the southern entrance of the park the skies were looking pretty grey and gloomy.By the time we entered, paid our $35 USD/$51.88 NZD for the standard seven-day ticket and arrived at the Grand Canyon Village (C) it was raining/lightly hailing. We weren’t expecting this so we layered up and hit the road heading east from the village.
Because of the weather we didn’t get the best of views but we still saw some of the most incredible landscapes carved by the Colorado River. Here are a few stats of this natural wonder –
- the canyon is 277 river miles (446 kms) long
- up to 18 miles (29 kms) wide
- and a mile (1.6 km) deep
And again, the National Park Service run a fantastic website with lots of helpful information and when you enter the park you get hardcopy maps and more information about the particular season you are visiting in and which areas may be closed.Along the way we came to a bit of a traffic jam, cars driving very slowly and pulling off the road as much as possible. We soon saw what everyone was seeing, a couple of elk grazing on the side of the road. Another fantastic wildlife encounter to add to our list.We next stopped at the Grandview Point but couldn’t see a thing….
Our final stop was at the Desert View and we caught some stunning landscapes and interesting light from the weather.After a couple of hours we had reached the east entrance (D), we exited here and travelled another four hours into New Mexico. We continued seeing more similar landscapes and ended the day by staying at Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Gallup (E) (see our Wyndham Properties review here).We were totally blown away by the Grand Canyon and we are so pleased we braved the freezing temperatures and bone chilly winds, as Lincoln said, “It’s really cool, … but it’s also REALLY cold!!” Average Daily Spend for 1 night – $283.08 NZD ($4.42 under budget per day)